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It's prison, not nursing home, for slayer of two

Published May 2, 2008 12:27 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 12:28 PM- Citing Edgar Tiedemann's mental problems, physical infirmities and age, a defense attorney argued Friday for probation at a rest home rather than prison for the man convicted of shooting three guests at his West Valley City trailer home in 1991.

The 61-year-old Tiedemann - who was brought to 3rd District Court in a wheelchair - became addicted to paint thinner at the age of 13, had a stroke in 1988 and now suffers from Parkinson's disease.

But Judge Judith Atherton was not swayed by pleas for mercy.

She called the slaying of two people and the attempted murder of a third victim "the most horrible murders imaginable" and ordered Tiedemann to serve consecutive prison terms.

She said she would recommend to parole authorities that he never be released.

According to testimony during a February jury trial, Tiedemann started shooting his sleeping house guests the early morning hours of Nov. 2, 1991.

Killed were Charles Timberman, 43, and Susan Sessions, 31. Sessions' 14-year-old son, Scott Bunnell Jr., was paralyzed from the chest down and died 10 years later, purportedly of complications from the shooting.

Tiedemann, who had sniffed solvent throughout the day, may have been angered by Sessions, who that night rebuffed his attempt to kiss her, according to trial testimony.

Jurors learned of events largely from the lone survivor of the rampage, Debra Pryor, who was 7- months pregnant at the time.

Pryor declined to comment following Friday's hearing, but wiped tears from her smiling face as she left the courtroom.

In a written statement, read in court by defense attorney Patrick Corum, the defendant pleaded not to be sent to prison.

"I've changed my evils ways," Tiedemann claimed.

At trial, Tiedemann testified that Pryor was the actual killer.

It took more than 16 years to bring the case before a jury, partly because Tiedemann was initially declared mentally incompetent and spent 10 years at the Utah State Hospital.

When he was released from the state hospital in 2002, he was rearrested and murder charges were reinstated.

Arguing in favor of probation, defense attorney Heather Brereton noted that hospital doctors, who had found Tiedemann was no longer a danger to himself or others, were planning to place him in a long-term care facility.





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